Photo by Angela EllsworthJen Sincero plops her willowy bod onto a sofa in her LA bungalow, incense burning and Neil Young oozing from the speakers. The author of a hot-selling new book, The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping with Chicks, crosses her long, white legs, and out of her beautifully vivid mouth comes . . . Eleanor Roosevelt? Ah, come on, Jen—aren't you going to tell us about your dildo collection? But wait—the 40-year-old former punk rocker from New York may be on to something. She quotes the presidential wife who had all the sex appeal of a tractor-trailer, but who gobbled up the gals with the best of 'em: "No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.''
Her book, which has sold more than 9,000 copies since it was published in February and has landed her gigs such as the Playboy Channel and The Howard Stern Show, is page-turningly nasty. Page 136 features a snappily done "Pussy Eating Pie Chart'' (clit suck 36 percent, face plant 16 percent, etc.). But Sincero didn't write Straight Girl's Guide simply to titillate those obsessed with girl-on-girl sex (read: all men and not nearly enough women). No, she says. Her mission is "decriminalizing sex," and—Eleanor would have liked this—making women feel empowered about their bodies, their sexuality, the whole package. This Sunday, she'll hold a workshop about doing just that at Lotions & Lace, a family-run sex store in Orange.
"My main message is to love yourself and quit being such a weenie about exploring sex,'' Sincero says, looking demure in a longish blue skirt and matching top as she sips a Mandarin Lime natural soda. "I feel like a lot of the self-help stuff out there is so dry, clammy and nauseatingly sincere. I like mine with a bit more of an edge. So my book poses itself as one thing but sort of sneaks in this other agenda about making people feel good about themselves.''
Okay, now can you tell us what "puddle jumping'' means? Oh, there it is on Page 107: "Switching back and forth from fingering her to fingering yourself." And a "lickety split''? "A one-night stand with a chick." Keep talking.
"When I was in San Francisco,'' Sincero says, "one of the most progressive cities in the world, I looked at all the women and said, 'You don't need me! Just drink a bottle of tequila and go outside!'" But women do need her, she says. Based on the extensive research she did for her book, which is on its third printing and recently was published in Australia, she says there's a frighteningly large number of women who literally aren't in touch enough with their bodies.
Take, for example, masturbation: "In a world where men jerk off in public,'' Sincero writes, "how can it be that there's still such a wall of silence and shame surrounding the practice of female masturbation? A female orgasm can be aloof, temperamental and mysterious, and she can take a while to show up, if she decides to show up at all. Most of us need to learn how to orgasm by figuring out which combination of fantasy, touch and concentration works for us." In that spirit, the title of one chapter is "The Super-Huge Importance of Sticking Your Hand Down Your Pants."
Sincero says she isn't trying to "convert'' straight women. And she eschews labels like "bisexual'' in favor of simple exploration. She sees herself as something of a sexual crossing guard for those who want to check out the other side of the street but get there safely (finger condoms and latex dams; Sincero is a stickler for safe sex). A heterosexual, she got thrown for a loop when, in her 30s, she struck up a six-month relationship with a woman. She was confused: Am I a lesbian? Am I bi? "This book is more for people like me: What the fuck is going on?" After much soul-searching, Sincero concluded that although she loved a woman, she could not take the relationship seriously in the romantic sense. Something was missing: the "tug" she felt with men she had loved. And so she wrote her book, to work out some of the mysteries of sexual attraction—and to have some fun with it, right down to the helpful "vocabulary builder'' breakout boxes and the pictures of Barbies engaged in various sexual acts (with no Kens). It was scary, she says: "I was worried all my friends would think I'd want to fuck them." They got over it, but her book has gotten her some unwanted attention—mostly from "creepy guys and Christians" who think her blunt approach to sexuality gives them carte blanche to verbally rape her.
Introducing curious women to the hot world of girl-girl sex has been more than worth it, Sincero says. She feels she is empowering women and allowing them to gain a better understanding of what men go through being with them. Straight men, she says, also can learn a lot from her book. One chapter, for example, dives into the ins and outs of cunnilingus—though Sincero would never use such a stuffy word herself. She prefers terms like "romancing the panty hamster."
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Although firmly back in the dude camp now, Sincero says her sexual experiences with women have made her a better person. "Sleeping with women was like taking a superhero pill," she writes. "It inspired interesting discussions with friends, family and a slew of strangers. It opened me up to the incredibly diverse world of sexuality that I'd only dipped my toe into before and which I'm now fascinated by." She's convinced men and women should open their minds—and their pants—to new sexual adventures.
"I feel like I'm in more control of my sexuality," one woman dabbler says in Sincero's book. "I feel empowered by this. Like I have some secret knowledge. . . . It's hard to explain, but I think it's made me more confident in my sexual encounters with men. [I'm] better able to ask for and get what I want."
"I think everybody just needs to not be so ashamed and freaked out [about sex]," Sincero says—and especially about the notion of girl-on-girl action. "I think everybody just needs to calm the fuck down.''
JEN SINCERO WORKSHOP AT LOTIONS & LACE, 1860 N. TUSTIN AVE., ORANGE, (714) 974-3539; WWW.JENSINCERO.COM. SUN., 6-8:15 P.M. $25; INCLUDES $25 STORE GIFT CERTIFICATE. WOMEN ONLY.